Cockles abound in Philippines through public-private partnership project



- KOICA holds completion ceremony for blood cockle nursery and seafood processing facility in Aklan Province of the Philippines on March 16 

- 40 million young cockles to be raised in aquaculture farms yearly, processed into marinated cockle sauce and other products, and exported to countries including Korea, China; income increase expected for local fishing households 

A KOICA project has stimulated the cultivation and production of cockles in the Philippines.

Some 40 million young cockles are to be raised in a blood cockle nursery, built by KOICA in cooperation with private companies. This is expected to contribute to increased income for local fishing households and the stabilization of the aquaculture industry.

KOICA held a ceremony for the completion of the blood cockle nursery and seafood processing facility in Aklan Province, Philippines on March 16.

The facilities are part of a 3.3 billion won project implemented by KOICA from 2021 to 2026, in collaboration with SK CNS and GM Fisheries, to revitalize the local economy in the Philippines. The aim of the project is to increase the income of local residents and preserve marine resources by supporting environmentally friendly aquaculture facilities in Aklan Province, home to the renowned Boracay island.

The project benefits all parties. Korean companies can supply high-quality seafood products to the domestic market by securing stable overseas cockle suppliers, while the Philippines gains income through stable exports and sales.

In 2016, KOICA had built a cockle aquaculture farm together with local NGO KASAMA to restore damaged mangrove forests in the coastal region of Aklan Province and improve the earnings of low-income fishing households. However, COVID-19 brought about a breakdown in the distribution system, and production was suspended.

In response, KOICA implemented this second project, establishing a cockle nursery to ensure a stable supply system of cockles, and building a seafood processing system to diversify the sales structure.

The 1,450 square meter cockle nursery built by KOICA encompasses a microalgae production system according to the growth cycle of cockles, seawater filtering and disinfection system, laboratory, fertilization room, and incubation room.

The 2,500 square meter seafood processing facility, also built by KOICA, includes a freezer room, rapid freezing room, packaging room, and drying room, in addition to facilities, which adhere to HACCP standards, to sort and process seafood. The facility is able to produce some 400-500 tons of seafood products, which are expected to result in 1.9 billion won in average yearly sales when exported.

KOICA will carry out training for fishing households for the remainder of the project period and improve profitability by developing diverse types of seafood products such as frozen and dried products. Upon completion, the project is expected to result in a 180% increase in income of some 400 residents.

Present at the completion ceremony were KOICA Philippines Office Country Director Kim Eun-sub; Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores of Aklan Province; and some 400 members of the Philippines’ cockle cooperative.

“This will surely serve as a driving force for the development of more diversified aquaculture industries as well as improving the income of fishermen through the complete farming cycle of litob (blood cockle) from fry production to farming,” said Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores of Aklan Province.

“KOICA hopes to not only strengthen the entire business value chain by supporting a stable aquaculture system for the self-sufficiency of fishing households in the Philippines, but also to create a stable employment environment by building employee restaurants and providing daycare centers. We hope to produce a model case of the inclusive business model,” said KOICA Philippines Office Country Director Kim Eun-sub.

In addition, to prevent damage to marine resources in the mangrove forests where the aquaculture farms are located, KOICA plans to set up a 20 million won climate change response fund (1 Philippine peso for 1 kilogram of blood cockles produced in the farms). KOICA also plans to set up 40 million won in social contribution funds to address the welfare and social issues of vulnerable local groups.